Woods’ four-stroke victory Monday at the Farmers Insurance Open solidified his No. 2 ranking and trimmed McIlroy’s lead in the rankings to 3.14 points. Entering their season opener two weeks ago in Abu Dhabi, McIlroy had a 4.20-point advantage on Woods.
It depends on how McIlroy plays over his next few starts, of course, namely the WGC-Accenture Match Play and Honda Classic, but it seems likely that Woods needs at least two more victories to regain the No. 1 ranking.
Not that Tiger is concerned.
“That happens through a product of winning golf tournaments,” Woods, who has held the No. 1 spot for 623 weeks, said Monday. “In order for me to get back there, that’s what I’ve got to do.”
His seventh victory at the Farmers Insurance Open, and eighth overall at Torrey Pines, did create some separation between him and No. 3 Luke Donald. Woods now has a 1.345-point lead.
The rest of the top 10 remained largely unchanged: McIlroy, Woods, Donald, Justin Rose, Louis Oosthuizen, Adam Scott, Brandt Snedeker (up from eighth), Lee Westwood (down from seventh), Bubba Watson and Jason Dufner (up from 11th).
Chris Wood, who captured his maiden European Tour title at the Qatar Masters, jumped to 60th from 142nd in the world rankings. If he can remain in the top 64 for the next three weeks, he will earn a spot in the WGC-Match Play field. Currently, Bernd Wiesberger sits at No. 64.